This paper examines the possibility of eliminating or diminishing the need for mixing and separation in multiphase flow metering (MFM) systems by means of the ultrasonic technique. First, a configuration of a complete MFM system using the ultrasonic is proposed and thoroughly discussed. Next, visual data and ultrasonic data in oilcontinuous two- and three-phase mixtures in 54-mm diameter acrylic pipes are presented to support the proposed use to the ultrasonic technique. USP mineral oil (white oil) and 80 – 600 μm glass beads were used to simulate the petroleum and sand contents, respectively. Tap water was used to simulate the brine in multiphase flows. The ultrasonic data are then carefully analyzed in order to obtain the dispersed phases concentrations from the ultrasonic signals.
Motivated by increasing oilfield development costs, oil companies have invested heavily in efforts to develop a multiphase flowmeter (MPFM) capable of measuring the multiphase flow from a wellhead without separating its constituent phases. In a single well surveillance using a MPFM, the time resolution of the information is higher than from a test separator sampled at much longer intervals. Using a MPFM instead of a separator may therefore reduce the total uncertainty in well data, even if instantaneous phase flow rates are measured with increased uncertainty (1–2). According to Babelli (4), an ideal multiphase flow meter for use in the oil industry should: (a) measure the concentration of the dispersed phases; (b) determine the flow regime of the mixture flow; (c) measure the flow rate of each phase; (d) perform nonintrusive measurements; (e) have a wide range of applicability with respect to types of fluids, flow rates, flow regimes, conduit size, temperatures, and pressures; (e) produce consistent measurements over a long period of time; (f) be compact, simple, and inexpensive.